Navy SEAL caps, American flags and 9-11 goods hot
TREVOSE, PA – May
4, 2011 – Companies
selling promotional products with a patriotic bent are reporting super-size
sales this week as news of the death of the 9-11 terrorist fueled nationalistic fire.
Erik Mickelson, operations
manager of Northwest
Embroidery in Washington, said the company started embroidering special Navy
SEAL Team 6 hats, one carrying the imprint “We got him,” within 12 hours of
Osama bin Laden’s death Sunday. Of three styles available, the Black Ops hat is
the hottest seller, with 500 sold this week alone.
“It’s a cool hat and a lot of
people like to show their patriotism,” said Mickelson. He said a jump in web
hits from 100 to 2,000 a day was due partly to people finding his site while
googling for info on the Special Forces unit that killed bin Laden in a
surprise assault in Pakistan.
Military personnel are buying
Northwest’s hats as well as families of service men and women serving overseas.
Mickelson’s shipped items to Iraq and Afghanistan and throughout the U.S. this week.
“The promotional products
industry has a history of turning on a dime and responding quickly to whatever
the marketplace and news of the day commands, and this historic response and
patriotic surge is no different,” said Timothy M. Andrews, president and CEO of the Advertising Specialty Institute.
Sales of Osama-related items
like toilet paper imprinted with his face shot up this week. Pinata
Casa, a promo products company that offers 4-foot-tall pinatas, sold more
$50 bin Laden piñatas in the last few days than they’ve sold in the last year.
“Osama is one of our most popular piñatas,” said Gerald Zhou.
Matt Quinn, owner of Quinn Flags and Banners in Hanover, Pennsylvania, said his phones started ringing Monday morning.
“It’s not like it was after 9/11, but we’ve definitively seen four times the
sales,” said Quinn, adding that companies hand out flags during promotions. “A
lot of companies are ordering now thinking that because of this we’ll run out
and they won’t have them in time for Memorial Day.”
Daily business at Quinn’s increased
about 400% since bin Laden was killed. “We
have over 3 million flags in stock today and more are being produced daily,”
said Quinn. Other popular items include decorative pleated fans, patriotic
bunting and American stick flags imprinted with a client’s name or website.
“The wooden sticks are
perfect for companies promoting themselves during such a big year while showing
great American pride,” said Quinn.
By coincidence, this week Northwest
readied a shipment of 1,000 9-11
patches to police and fire personnel in Washington, Oregon, Idaho
and Alaska. The company had planned to send the free gift before
bin Laden’s death, to say “thanks” in advance of the coming 10-year
The Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI) is the largest education, media and marketing organization for the
promotional product and advertising industry, offering award-winning
publishing, marketing and ASI e-commerce services to over 26,000 members.